Spanish Mackerel

Spanish Mackerel are found in the western Atlantic north to the Chesapeake Bay and occasionally to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and south to Yucatan, Mexico. It appears that one Atlantic and one or more Gulf groups of Spanish mackerel occur in Florida waters. With rising water temperatures, the Atlantic group migrates along the Atlantic coast of the United States from Miami Florida, beginning in late February through July reaching as far as southern Cape Cod, Massachusetts, then returning in fall. The Atlantic group spawns starting in April off the Carolinas and from late August to late September in the northernmost part of its range.

An Eastern Gulf group moves northward from the Florida Keys during late winter and spring, appearing off the central West Coast of Florida about April 1. Movement continues westward and terminates along the northern Texas coast. During fall, this group migrates back to its wintering grounds in the Keys. 

The fish exhibits a green back; its sides are silvery marked with about three rows of round to elliptical yellow spots. Lateral line gradually curving down from the upper end of the gill cover toward caudal peduncle. The first (spiny) dorsal fin is black at the front. Posterior membranes are white with a black edge. Its single row of cutting edged teeth in each jaw (around sixty-four teeth in all) are large, uniform, closely spaced and flattened from side to side. As with the King mackerel and the Cero mackerel, these teeth look very similar to those of the Bluefish, Pomatomus Saltatrix.

Spanish mackerel are a good food fish and although they are considered large at 10 lb (4.53 kg), some record specimens will grow to more than twice that size. They are a shallow water species, preferring sand bottom in 10 to 40 foot (6 to 12 m) depths, occasionally found as deep as 80 feet (24 m).

This is an excellent game fish that can be taken on a wide variety of lures and baits. Nylon jigs are considered one of the best lures, especially when retrieved rapidly with an occasional jerk of the rod tip to impact a darting motion to the jig. Feather lures and spoons are also successful, while minnows and live shrimp are the best natural baits. Occasionally almost any lure or bait will work, while at other times, nothing will.

Recreational anglers catch Spanish mackerel from boats while trolling or drifting and from boats, piers, jetties, and beaches by casting spoons and jigs and live-bait fishing. Fast lure retrieves are key to catching these quick fish.

Species Information

Scientific Name:Scomberomorous maculatus
Environment:Inshore, Nearshore, Surf
Ideal Temp:>= 65°F (18°C)
Technique:Casting, Fly, Trolling
Lure Type:Flies, Plugs, Spoons, Topwater, Trolling
World Record:5.89 kg (13 lb 0 oz) Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina , USA
Other Names:spanish mackerel, atlantic spanish mackerel, spanish

Latest Spanish Mackerel Fishing Reports and Spots

May 28 morning 1/2 day “Inlet Adventure” trip - 5/29/2021 8:04:10 AM

Off this morning with the Hill crew. Did not have very good conditions ….windy choppy and rough. We tried all over and managed to catch a few S (View)

5/20/21 - 5/20/2021 3:28:00 PM

Body:  Nice catches across the board on Thursday! Offshore boats had several Marlin catches along with Dolphin Tuna Grouper Amberjack Tilefish (View)

5/21/21 - 5/21/2021 10:46:00 AM

Body:  Not much offshore activity to report for Friday. Most boats stayed at the dock due to weather. A few went out but came in early or troll (View)

5/22/21 - 5/22/2021 6:05:00 AM

Body:  Offshore fishing had a wide variety on Saturday. Good catches of Dolphin a few Tuna Amberjack Grouper and Blue Marlin! Inshore boats had (View)

Thursday's Mixed Bag - 5/21/2021 6:58:00 PM

Thursday offshores made it back to the docks with mahi yellowfin tuna blackfin tuna wahoo tilefish and a citation marlin! Nearshores brought in (View)

5/17/21 - 5/17/2021 6:28:00 AM

Body:  Boaters and anglers can't seem to catch a break with this wind lately! Despite the rough seas we still had some good catches. Offshore w (View)

5/18/21 - 5/18/2021 7:54:00 AM

Body:  Great fishing on Tuesday and the Mahi have arrived! Several boats caught their limits of Mahi Mahi along with scattered Yellowfin Tuna W (View)

5/19/21 - 5/19/2021 8:01:00 AM

Body:  We had a beautiful sunny day on Wednesday with slightly slower fishing but the Cobia are finally biting! Offshore boats had scattered ca (View)

Fishing Report – Thursday 05/20/2021 - 5/20/2021 9:32:52 PM

A great catch of sea mullet off Ramp 43.  Spanish mackerel sharks and big rays caught off 45.  A citation-size Pompano 2 pd. 2 oz. was caught o (View)

From pink snapper off Mandurah to more metro mulloway there's plenty to read in Recfishwest's State-wide Fishing Report 21 May 2021 🎣 - 5/21/2021 3:52:21 AM

96 Recfishwest Newsletter View this email in your browser Recfishwest Fishing Report 21/05/21 The metro mulloway madness has been heating up of (View)